RALEIGH – In today’s meeting of the State Board of Education, Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented her overarching vision and three key priorities to transform public education in North Carolina: literacy, testing and accountability, and human capital.
Truitt said these three priorities will guide the Department of Public Instruction’s immediate efforts to address the effects of COVID-19, including learning loss, while also laying the groundwork to achieve her long-term vision: every student deserves a highly-qualified, excellent teacher in every classroom.
“Literacy, testing and accountability, and human capital are critical in our work to recover from COVID and key to transforming districts and schools in accordance with Leandro. The department will prioritize these three things throughout the next four years to usher in a new era of public education in our state,” Truitt said.
“If we want to truly address learning loss that has resulted from COVID, the conversation must begin with literacy. Reading and math proficiency has been a decades-long struggle in North Carolina—a struggle that certainly pre-dates COVID. If we want to change the statistics and improve reading proficiency, our state must start doing things differently. My goal is for us to shift from a one-by-one approach focused on individual students who struggle in reading to instead addressing the underlying issue: the methods used to teach reading. The department will share more on this priority in the coming weeks.”
“As part of the department’s continued COVID transition and recovery efforts, we will seek to change our current system of student testing and school accountability. Testing is an essential tool used by educators to see where knowledge gaps exist and will undoubtedly play a key role in navigating the path forward out of COVID. But it must be student-centered, allow teachers to make data-driven instructional decisions, and provide timely communication to parents regarding their child’s performance. The fallout of the pandemic has also underscored the limitations of the current school accountability system in place. We need to reform the accountability model so that it better reflects the myriad ways schools are working to transform teaching and learning.”
“Finally, I know that in order to equip students, we must invest in the very people on the frontlines who lead, teach and guide every day. This is why we will develop a human capital strategy that creates a robust pipeline of highly qualified teachers, principals, and school support personnel in every district. We know that many of our students do not have fully licensed math teachers, and our schools frequently lack teachers for exceptional children and secondary science. As students transition back into the classroom in the coming months, school support staff like school psychologists will play a pivotal role in helping students’ recovery emotionally and academically.”
“My team and I look forward to working with the State Board, the General Assembly, and our educators to accomplish this vision.”